What makes for a good death? In Mortally Wounded, a best-seller in Ireland where it was first published, Dr. Michael Kearney reflects upon his experiences working with the dying and shows us that is possible to learn to die well, overcoming our fears and soul pain and accepting death as an integral part of life.
Believing that the root of the pain we face when dying is often a personal and cultural disconnection from soul, Dr. Kearney advocates a personal quest inward—and downward—to re-engage with this deepest part of our being. He shows how psychological techniques, such as dream analysis and visualization exercises, combined with mythological insights, can help us on this journey. He finds in the Greek myth of the wounded centaur, Chiron, a metaphor for this process — it is only after descending to the underworld for nine days and nights that Chiron finds relief from his pain and suffering and discovers a path that reaches to the heavens.
Careful attention to spiritual health, Kearney urges, is an essential complement to physical or outer care. Inner or "depth" work can, he believes, enables us to find our "own way through the prison of soul pain to a place of greater wholeness, a new depth of living, and a falling away of fear."
"A beautiful work, written with curiosity, mystery, and compassion."
— James Hillman
About the author:
MICHAEL KEARNEY, M.D., has spent over 25 years working as a physician in end of life care. He trained and worked at St. Christopher's Hospice in London with Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of the modern hospice movement, and subsequently worked for many years as Medical Director of Our Lady's Hospice in Dublin, and later with Professor Balfour Mount at McGill University in Montreal. He is currently a Medical Director of the Palliative Care Service at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and an Associate Medical Director at Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care, also in Santa Barbara. He also acts as medical director to the Anam Cara Project for Compassionate Companionship in Life and Death in Bend, Oregon. Other works by Dr. Kearney include the book entitled A Place of Healing: Working with Suffering in Living and Dying.